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Hosea 2014: Day 12

His discipline is loving

by

Today's Text: Hosea 10:1-15, Hebrews 12:5-11

Hosea 10:1-15, Hebrews 12:5-11

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love;  break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
– Hosea 10:12

We love to hear the gospel. But there are some passages of Scripture that are really hard to read, because they don’t tell us pleasant things. This passage tell us about sin, and about its consequences.

No one wants to read about these things. I really like it better when I imagine Jesus patting me on the shoulder, saying “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Instead of patting me on the back, this passage kicks me in the pants.

This is incredibly uncomfortable, even disturbing stuff.

Why would God say this to us? Why can’t we just skip over the nasty parts and hear about something nice instead?

The truth is, we cannot really understand the Gospel without this very real and difficult realization of sin. The Gospel is not a “skip over the difficult stuff” message. It is rather, an answer to an ugly and deep-rooted problem in our own hearts. Our hearts are not naturally inclined to seek the Lord and do what is right.

We may like to claim a kind of made-up righteousness of our own, but those are ‘mere words’ and ‘empty oaths.’

In truth, apart from God’s bountiful grace, we are just like Israel.

The pattern of our lives betrays our belief that ‘we do not need the Lord.’ That is frightening, because Hosea tells us where all this leads: shame, judgment, and the tumult of war.

This passage is indeed frightening, but it is not a cheap scare tactic. It is truth. We ourselves bring judgment on ourselves when we dismiss God and his decrees.

But even in this passage on the blackness of sin, God shines a light for us. When God calls us to ‘sow righteousness,’ He is not simply commanding us. He is also beckoning to us. God is throwing a rope into the well to pull us out of the darkness and muck of our sin.

Hosea is a book about God’s wooing of an undeserving people, and here again we see that same theme.

God calls us to seek Him because He desires good for us, and not destruction. He longs for our wandering hearts to return to Him, and receive His cleansing grace.

From the deep pit of our own destruction and despair, we hear a steady, loving voice calling:

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. Come to me, all ye that are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
(Hosea 10:12, Matthew 11:28)

12

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  • This is my favorite day so far.
    Very well written & I love the imagery in this scripture…difficult? Yes. But necessary to really think upon.
    Thank you.

  • Samantha

    “The pattern of our lives betrays our belief that ‘we do not need the Lord.’ ”

    This sentence does not make sense. Our belief should be that we DO need the Lord. The pattern of our lives (our self-centered lives) would betray that belief.

    • Katherine

      I read it as Our BELIEF is that we don’t need him. So, like Israel, we go off and do our own thing, time and time again, distancing ourselves from him as we try to handle life our way. As our sinful, not Godly, actions produce destructive consequences, we need God to rescue us and handle the mess we’ve made. We do need him. But we believe we don’t so we do whatever we want and create destructive messes. Over and over throughout life’s different issues.

  • anithaxabraham

    I "stumbled" across your site while looking for blogs about Hosea & Gomer. Imagine my surprise to find this study that covers the entire book! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts – it has definitely helped me in my own study of this amazing story.

  • We all hate when people tell us we are wrong. I know for me when someone tells me I did something wrong, I get really defensive and angry because in my mind they’re the ones who are wrong. Well it’s not like we can waltz up to heaven and tell God he’s wrong. AND on top of that there’s the fact that HE IS NOT WRONG. He is so right. He couldn’t be more right. We are sinners and there are consequences with that. We can only be made righteous through Jesus Christ and his grace and mercy. We need to openly accept that. Not reject it because we look like bad people. We are bad people. But we don’t have to be anymore. Rest in his grace and mercy, but realize you need to change.

  • What stood out to me today in this study was verse 13 where the passage talks about cultivating wickedness. Wow! When I think of cultivating, I think of tending carefully to something. Giving it as much attention and time needed to make sure it grows. And it hit me that is EXACTLY what I do with my sin. I water it and nurture it and then I act surprised when my harvest comes up. SMH. Thank God for his discipline because I know I need it. It's not pleasant or easy, but I can't recall a time where I have not been (eventually) grateful for Him showing me ME and all my stuff.

    • Catie

      I really appreciated this delving into the meaning of “cultivating” something. Thank you for sharing.

  • What struck me was that verse 11 brings work into the picture: yoke, plow, harrow. Sowing isn’t easy. You must work to even get to the point where you can plant and then continue working long after. Working for me is easy to equate with obedience. I’ve been working with my dad on our farm this summer. It might be his last year before retirement, and that gives me an opportunity to love him through obedience. What he needs, I try to do without stalling, without questioning, without conditions. Those little “yes’s”, they add up to some pretty powerful lessons in love, in self-denial, in self-discipline. That fallow ground I have to keep breaking up is a lot of selfishness that has consumed me for quite a while. I’m grateful for this summer, for my dad, and for this Bible study…reaping a steadfast love sounds pretty incredible. I’m going to keep working at it.

    • Katie B

      Thanks for sharing Angela! I tend to have the same heart of selfishness, and I feel it’s something we have to work and practice with daily to be humble, grateful and submissive.

  • Ashley S.

    The part in Hebrews at the end really spoke to my heart b/c I feel that during your hard times it’s God molding you & forming you to become stronger & more faithful to Him! It makes knowing that when my season come it’ll be one of greatness!

  • Tawni Sattler

    I began my day with the #showmemysinprayer. (Thanks to Rhonda Elder for this hashtag!!) I was waiting for some thunder to roll or lightning to strike, or for a proverbial lightbulb to turn on, or for a vision of seraphim. I laid there (because I did — I prayed it as soon as I woke up), waiting for some knowledge to just drop on me. Nothing happened.

    But God did answer my prayer.

    Throughout the day God showed me snippets, like still-shots from a movie, of my sin. There wasn’t a sudden and grand revelation of how horrible I was. There wasn’t a coal-meets-lips vision of any sort. But what God showed me was enough. (So can I stop now? Just kidding. Sort of.)

    My full response to today's study is here: http://tawnimarie.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/it-is-

    Thank you to the women behind SRT and to the readers. Reading responses and blog posts written by women feeling the same way I'm feeling is such a comfort, and it's so convicting!

    xo

  • Caroline

    I am just now resting in the truth of the loving part of His discipline that needed(s) to take place in my life as His child. Some fallow ground has been broken for sure yet my hand is still at the plow. In praise and awe…

  • “It is time to seek The Lord until
    His righteousness comes”!!!!!!!!! This was for me today. The Lord met me here in this devotion this morning!!! Praise and Glory be to the God of our righteousness!
    Thank you!

  • I loved the seed comparison today… and it is so true… planting seeds is the easy part. Its the work required it to make it grow and be productive that requires my part. I need to water it, and fertilize it and take care of it so I can reap the harvest. The same is true with my relationship with God. I cannot do it on my own. I need his direction and even though I may not like what I hear, I have to do what he says. Why is that so hard to do? Why do I wander away form the safety of God's presence? I will never grow strong and produce fruit if I don't tend to my relationship with him… it takes discipline and work on my part and I have to stop wandering off on my own. Thank God for his amazing love and grace to me.

  • I am Israel. I am a sinner. I deserve punishment and wrath and judgment. But instead God, in all His love, disciplines me and beckons to me and redeems me. I am thankful for a God who saves me from myself and helps me crawl out of the pits I dig.

    I think that's been the most impactful part of reading through this book- that my choosing to sin is what brings destruction and despair in my life. My actions. I'm responsible. But the cross covers me. God takes my burdens. He lovingly restores me even though it was my decisions that caused it. What a reason to be thankful.

    • Carolyn

      What an awesome God we serve!

    • Carolyn

      I definitely need to pay more attention to tending my relationship with Him and stop wandering off on my own. Thanks for your words that speak my heart.

    • Carolyn

      Oops…that last comment was to Twila’s post.

  • I have spent this morning “catching up”. I am so guilty of not making the time to spend with God. Thank you for this study. This is the perfect size for me to commit to daily. As I’ve been reading I have been sucked in and honestly can’t stop myself from continuing onto the next day. I find myself confused and discouraged in the reading, but then I read the message that follows and it all makes sense! I am so grateful for it. And then, dozens of women comment, often verbalizing exactly what I feel. It blesses so many when you make a comment, you have no idea. God is using it well! Thanks SRT! xo

  • Mold me into one who is reflective of your Son. May I be ever cognizant of my sin and ever thankful for your grace.

  • Sorry gals I needed to add this……It just dawned on me that as a parent I made Huge mistakes in my parenting. But I can rest in the fact, that My God does not make mistakes.

  • When my children were growing up I knew,as hard as it was, that I needed to discipline them. They did not like it, and I am sure there were times they did not even like me because of it. But, I also knew as a parent it was my responsibility and I knew that they would be better individuals because of it. Now that they are grown, I often hear," Mom thank you for setting limits on me when I was young. Thank you for your tough love".
    Lord, like my children, there are times that you need to jerk a knot in this stubborn, know-it-all person who sits before you today. Please Lord you know what is best for me. Keep loving me with this tough love. Keep showing me the right way. I sometimes wonder Lord if I will ever grow up.

    • Carolyn

      I, too, am a “stubborn, know-it-all person,” if I am to be perfectly honest. “Sometimes I wonder if I will ever grow up.” Yes, I do!

  • Monica0829

    My prayer today, Simply "God give me strength"

  • Discipline. Not punishment.All these things God will bring upon Israel are not punishment for their actions, but discipline. Meant to call them back from wandering and from behaviors that would harm them…back into the arms of the One who truly loved them and who desired to protect them. Now He uses the words which recorded these events to call me to see Him and His amazing love…to cause me to see myself as Israel. He is giving me the opportunity to recognize my sins…to even ask Him to show them to me…so I can take them to Him for forgiveness before His discipline is necessary…and perhaps before their consequences occur. Painful to see my sin in even a small way the way He sees them, but amazing to see that He loves me so much that all He does in my life…even the discipline when necessary…is entirely for my good. My response as I see His working…from His gentle promptings to His discipline…is to love and trust Him even more. Dear Father, I bring my sins to You and I cast myself on Your unfailing mercy. I plead that you would ever turn my wandering heart back to You, for You are truly all I need. The more I know You, the more I love You!

  • joanne sher

    The Good News shines so much brighter in light of the darkness of our sin. So very thankful that He wooes us!

  • it’s so easy to read this and shake our heads at the israelites, which is how i read it the first time. but i read it twice more, with myself at the center, recognizing and accepting that my sin is just as evil and selfish…and foolish. (i want to laugh at the golden calf, but my gosh, don’t I really have my own? my house and its pretty decoration, for one–i spend my time comparing it to others, looking at pictures, reading about decorating, watching shows about it; i spend my money on it–ladies, this is insanity!) thank you, SRT, for brining this book to us and for pushing us to see ourselves in it. i’m praying that God reveals to ALL of us our foolish sin.

  • Good morning!

    Earlier this week Misce ended her comment with a testimony to watch…..well I have just watch it, after reading the devotion, I touch the wrong button on my machine which revealed this testimony, I had stored to watch at a later date…..and I am overwhelmed and tears run down my face…..I had not planned this…a simple mistake led me there….Wow…this man ( and I am not judging, but reading between the lines of what he said…) had ' Isreal- calliber' sin, for sure, from his testimony….so much so that he tried to 'opt out of life' twice….But God…..He had a plan for this man, who at one point in his life was voted…'The most hated man in his country' I think that says something about who he was perceived to be…..God's plan for him….was not the path he had taken, based on an incident in his childhood that had scarred him ….that had shaped the way he thought and acted…albeit in secret…..But God…But God…But God….
    But God….He is King, He is the Creator, His sovereignty, waits while we run, ….but when we return, when our hearts and eyes are opened….He comes towards us…open arms…and whilst He cannot be near sin…because ALL He can be and IS, is Good, his discipline is loving…..kind, gentle, faithful, redeeming, and no matter how far we run, no matter our journey, whatever road we have walked, jogged or run to find ourselves on our knees, at His feet, ….He loves us….How He loves us….so much so, we get an out clause…or better put…'I am here waiting for you….you just need to…..
    'Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. …'Hosea 9:12….

    Thank you Lord God for this amazing, redeeming Love that I so do not deserve….and yet you do….Thank you….Lord today, and every day may I 'break up my fallow ground, ' and look to YOU for all I need…..for what is of you and only you….May I seek you…for always and in all things….Praising you Lord for your Goodness and Grace…..Thank you Lord God, thank you…in Jesus name I pray…Amen..x

    Welcome to this beautiful day, the Lord has made….my Sister's….Be Blessed totally and abundantly….wherever and whatever you are doing….SENDIND love across the water….xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Kendall_S

    When in His strength I sow righteousness; it will reap His steadfast love.

    When in His strength I break up my fallow ground; I am able to seek the Lord fully.

    When I accept His loving discipline on my life and repent of my sin; He comes and rains down righteousness on me.

    A lot to take in and think over this morning…I just love His Word and love Him. Where have I been living idle and on fallow ground and now You want that land to be cultivated? What hard thing am I avoiding because of complacency? Lord, be my strength because I am weak.

    • Nancy

      Thank you, Kendall, for your summary…. It beautifully condenses and captures this passage/devotion.

  • Michelle

    And may I just add I’m excited for the downloadable study pages for the next study. I’m not a paper keeper. I love that I’ll be able to have the notes on my iPad so thanks!

  • Michelle

    There has to be bad news in order to hear good news…

  • Sometimes the guilt and shame of our shortcomings make us feel unworthy of Gods love, but knowing His love is endless… we have hope. Thank God for writeups like this.

  • "In truth, apart from God’s bountiful grace, we are just like Israel." Amen to this!

  • I am with a group of girls at a bachelorette party. I came home early because I don’t really enjoy being around all the drinking. But the problem is I found myself judging the people partaking. I needed to come home and resonate on the Lord’s words before going to bed. And I realized that he was speaking to me through this devotional tonight… Telling me not to point out others’ shortcomings when I have so many of my own, but also that God uses each situation to teach us something. In this situation, my mind immediately wanted to gossip. The sad thing is that that is such a horrible act to partake in. So Lord, please discipline me when I need to be disciplines. And teach me how to take that discipline not as you causing me hardship but you teaching me because you want to love me. Amen.

    • Heather

      I can so relate to you…even though I am so much older…haven't been to a bachelorette party in years! It is daily working towards staying humble and recognizing your shortcomings and ignoring the faults of others. You need to be able to talk to others about their sin without being judging…the key is love. As they say love the sinner hate the sin. I struggle with this for sure! We must be cut from the same cloth because it is natural for me to want to gossip my judgements as well. I instantly try to remember that God made my hand the perfect size to fit over my mouth!! I want others to see Gods love through me and not His judgement…I want to be a light and not a gossip. Daily choices daily battle.

  • Throughout this whole journey, my eyes and my heart have been opened to fully see (and accept) myself as a sinner and where my major faults lie. This evening, another occured to me: I have a difficult time listening to God's Word.

    It is so easy for me to stay within the majority of the books in the New Testament because you see who God is (love) through Jesus. Through the cross we are able to become more intimate in our relationship with the Lord. However, with Hosea….

    It has not been easy to hear that I am Israel. That I, too, worship idols, leave and pursue God back and forth like an adulterous wife. Much like feeling weak is the point to realize that God is stronger and mightier than I'll ever be, how can I truly understand and accept God's love if I do not accept that I am a sinner who is in need of His love?

    An inspiring read, I pray for our community to really listen to God's Word, to hear both the good and the bad in order to be stronger children and believers in the one we call Love.

    • Melody

      I'm with you. I prefer the God is love message of the New Testament over the list of sins and consequences in the Old Testament. But, like you point out, we need to accept that we are sinners and that we can identify with those in the Old Testament in that regard just as much as we can identify with the the cross and God's love in the New Testament.

    • Brendasan01

      This is so true. I am this person too but I am so thankful for the love of Jesus and his forgiveness!

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